From alien invasions to haunted hotels, there's something for everyone on my list of underrated horror films.

There are so many horror movies out there and that fact alone gives me a lot of joy. However, some good titles can be easily looked over, forgotten about, or just simply judged too quickly. I’m one of those people who will go through list after list in search of something (anything) worthwhile to watch that I haven’t seen yet. This is very accurate when it comes to horror movies.

underrated horror

I’ve decided to provide a list of some films I’ve appreciated and ended up truly enjoying over the years of watching the good, the bad, and the concerning titles of the genre. Below each quick synopsis for the film, along with director and writer credits, I’ll be making a note as to why I’ve picked that specific horror movie. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve watched any of these or you’ve found a new one to try!

Summer of ’84 (2018)

After suspecting that their police officer neighbor is a serial killer, a group of teenage friends spend their summer spying on him and gathering evidence, but as they get closer to discovering the truth, things get dangerous.

horror - summer of '84
Source: Brightlight Pictures

Directed by: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell

Written by: Matt Leslie and Stephen J. Smith

Britt Note: I was very surprised by this movie when I first watched it. Combining classic mystery, elements found in investigative thrillers, and core horror elements made this a fantastic and overlooked title in my opinion. There are also some fantastic performances from the cast involved.

Detention (2011)

As a copycat killer named after movie villain, Cinderhella stalks the student body at Grizzly Lake High School, a group of co-eds band together to survive while serving detention.

Directed by: Joseph Khan

Written by: Joseph Khan and Mark Palermo

Britt Note: Genuinely hilarious and sharp-edged dark comedy I would have never found if it wasn’t for some random selections one day at the library years ago. A perfect combination of horror and comedy.

Attack the Block (2011)

A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.

Directed and written by: Joe Cornish

Britt Note: There’s something about a group of people defending their home from invading aliens that gets me every time. This film has some spectacular casting and truly blends horror with sci-fi.

Books of Blood (2020)

A journey into uncharted and forbidden territory through three tales tangled in space and time.

horror - books of blood
Source: Hulu

Directed by: Brannon Braga

Written by: Adam Simon, Brannon Braga, and Clive Barker

Britt Note: I can’t get enough of a film that expertly weaves stories together for a shocking and intense ending. The stories are so weird and some so absolutely horrific, couldn’t get enough of the creative look this film had for Books of Blood.

The Fourth Kind (2009)

A thriller involving an ongoing unsolved mystery in Alaska, where one town has seen an extraordinary number of unexplained disappearances during the past 40 years and there are accusations of a federal cover-up.

Directed by: Olatunde Osunsanmi

Written by: Olatunde Osunsanmi and Terry Robbins

Britt Note: I first watched this film years ago with a friend and it sticks with me every time I watch it. There’s a simple design to this film but it includes a complex and scary look at what’s unexplainable at times.

The Pact (2012)

As a woman struggles to come to grips with her past in the wake of her mother’s death and the disappearance of her sister, an unsettling presence emerges in her childhood home.

Directed and written by: Nicholas McCarthy

Britt Note: This film is full of Insane twists and eerie tension that you feel in your gut. I won’t give too much away, it’s one of those.

There’s Someone Inside Your House (2021)

The graduating class at Osborne High is being targeted by a masked assailant, intent on exposing the darkest secret of each victim, and only a group of misfit outsiders can stop the killings.

Source: Netflix

Directed by: Patrick Brice

Written by: Stephanie Perkins and Henry Gayden

Britt Note: This was surprisingly good. I didn’t have high hopes going in because sometimes titles on Netflix (or from them) can be hit or miss. Luckily, this ended up being a great add to my favorite horror films.

Session 9 (2001)

Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Directed by: Brad Anderson

Written by: Brad Anderson and Stephen Gevedon

Britt Note: I continue to be flabbergasted by the lack of spotlight given to this horror film. It still somehow freaks me out after watching it multiple times, event in the middle of the day.

The Banana Splits Movie (2019)

A family attends a live taping of The Banana Splits television series, but are forced to survive as soon as the characters go haywire and start a killing spree around the studio.

Directed by: Danishka Esterhazy

Written by: Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas

Britt Note: Twisted characters in a TV show taping turned nightmare, this horror-comedy gives audiences a rollercoaster of entertainment. It’s a hilarious and wild take on horror.

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

A photographer’s obsessive pursuit of dark subject matter leads him into the path of a serial killer who stalks late night commuters, ultimately butchering them in the most gruesome ways.

Directed by: Ryûhei Kitamura

Written by: Jeff Buhler and Clive Barker

Britt Note: Yes, there’s more Clive Barker-related content on this list. Creepy moments on the subway have nothing on this film…you’ve been wonderfully warned.

Werewolves Within (2021)

Feature adaptation of the video game where werewolves attack a small town.

horror - werewolves within
Source: IFC Films

Directed by: Josh Ruben

Written by: Mishna Wolff

Britt Note: Characters truly shine in this film and the actors involved are perfect for balancing the absurdity involved and the horror of their reality.

Annihilation (2018)

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.

Directed by: Alex Garland

Written by: Alex Garland and Jeff VanderMeer

Britt Note: This is a film full of existential horror, gorgeous visuals, and an emotional depth that will hit the core of your soul. For sure a title worth watching more than once.

The Cell (2000)

An F.B.I. Agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.

Directed by: Tarsem Singh

Written by: Mark Protosevich

Britt Note: Initially, you may find this to be a weird and absurd film. I don’t blame you. However, this is another horror film full of gorgeous visuals and they’re mixed in with spine-chilling storytelling.

Underwater (2020)

A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Directed by: William Eubank

Written by: Brian Duffield and Adam Cozad

Britt Note: I think a lot of people passed over this film quickly when it came out and it deserves so much more than that. This is a genuinely sinister horror film that digs into some primal fears and some monstrosities (hint, hint).

1408 (2007)

A man who specialises in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Directed by: Mikael Håfström

Written by: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, and Larry Karaszewski

Britt Note: Haunted hotels, psychological twists and turns, and John Cusack? Sign me up again and again.

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